Saturday, December 15, 2012
New Mexico Bowl keys
By Kevin Gemmell
Three things to watch in today's New Mexico Bowl between Arizona and Nevada:
1. Slow down Ka'Deem Carey. Then what? Carey is the national leader, averaging 146 yards per game and he's scored 20 times on the ground with nine 100-yard rushing performances (and let's not forget that 366-yard performance). But quarterback Matt Scott is an awfully good runner as well. He averages 4.5 yards per carry, has five rushing touchdowns and he's netted 485 yards. Who steps up to spy Scott?
2. Slow down Stefphon Jefferson. Then what? Jefferson, who is No. 2 in the nation behind Carey in rushing yards per game, has rushed for 1,703 yards and 22 touchdowns (and let's not forget about his seven touchdown performance against Hawaii). He's run for at least 100 yards in nine games this season. But even if the Wildcats can slow him down, they still have to worry about quarterback Cody Fajardo, who will run the ball, on average about 15 times per game. At 5.8 yards per attempt, he actually has a higher per-carry average than Jefferson. He also has 11 rushing touchdowns and needs just 19 more yards to crack 1,000. Who steps up to spy Fajardo?
3. One defense has to step up: There's a reason we keep hammering home the idea of playing defense -- it's because both offenses are really good and neither defense is particularly stout, especially when it comes to applying pressure. Both units rank in the bottom half of the country in sacks and tackles for a loss. Both are in the negative on turnover margin. This might come down to the proverbial situation of whichever team can make two or three stops will win the game. Punters need not apply.